Date of Award

Fall 2011

Access Restriction

Campus Access only dissertations

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Magaly C. Lavadenz, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Franca Dell'Olio, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Karen K. Huchting, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to analyze the effectiveness of a heritage language Spanish program from the standpoint of organizational, curricular, and cocurricular practices. In this study, heritage language study was defined as having an emphasis on maintaining cultural awareness and language needs (Beaudrie, 2009) through cultural mediation, in which the experiences and identity of students are developed as areas of strength in the educational experience (Bennett, 2003; Gollnick & Chinn, 2004; Lovelace & Wheeler, 2006). The setting for this mixed-methodology study was an all-male Catholic secondary school. The participants in this study numbered 78 students in the heritage language courses and 10 faculty and administration members. The data collected pointed to significant areas for growth in the school’s distinction between heritage language learners and native speakers.

The findings suggested the prevalence of the following themes: class and racial discrimination, student internalization of deficit thinking, and the power struggle between the power structure and Latino student population. The implications of this study were that the program would benefit from greater teacher preparation in terms of degree background, increased emphasis in activities that promote student verbal communication in the heritage language, and greater incorporation of varied classroom practices in order to empower students to achieve a proficient level of bilingualism and biculturalism.

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